Friday, October 6, 2017

Grounds Crew Maintains Quality Fall Playing Conditions

By Golf Superintendent Ben Larsen

For the second half of summer, the average low temperature for the months of August and September have been 56 and 52 degrees; while the average high temperatures have been 75 degrees and 76 degrees. Comparing 2017’s temperature averages with the historical average, the month of August we were 2 degrees below average. The big contrast was in September; we averaged 6 degrees above normal, while setting a record, reaching 90 degrees four days in a row.

The second half of summer precipitation has been a drastically different from the first half of summer. June and July were 2.6” above average, while August and September were 1.36” below average. Not to mention, currently Green Bay is considered abnormally dry.
On a positive note during this drought period, playing conditions have been fast and firm. This was made possible because the Grounds Department was able to control the amount of water applied through the irrigation system and hand-watering. However, through droughty times, the rough will usually get the brunt of the damage. The reason for the dry, dormant rough is much of it is in heavy clay soils, on knolls and receives heavy cart traffic. But a big reason for dry turf during drought times is the competition for water between trees and turf.

What happens this time of year is the amount of rain decreases, so the trees and turf will fight over what little water there is in the soil; and trees will always win. One way the Grounds Department combats this issue is root pruning.

Root pruning is when the tree’s feeder roots are cut, which eliminates the source for the tree to uptake water; resulting in no competition for water in the rough. The end result is healthier rough and minimal to no harm to the tree. According to The Morteum Arborteum, a tree can lose up to 25% of its root system and remain unharmed. Below is an example of how root pruning is effective on #17 greenside.

Notice the distinct line of dry dormant rough and healthy rough.  The line signifies where we root pruned.

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